Q. I think i suffer from bipolar. I have had depression on and off since i was 16 i am now 30. I have seen a few psychiatrists but didn´t feel comfortable with them so never saw them on a long basis. I often feel very up and then suddenly very down, so in the times where i suddeny was feeling great i stopped having therapy. Soon i was feeling very low again though. I am not good at opening up and talking when i am down, so went many years without help. When i feel “up” i dont feel anything is ever wrong with me and therefore dont want any help… My problem now is that my brother has just been diagnosed with Bipolar type 2 and i must admit when reading his symptoms i recognize it all. I am seeing a psychiatrist at the moment for a depression, i did a test at my doctors and she referred me.. I have mentioned my bipolar concern to the psychiatrist and my doctor but with no luck. My doctor didn´t know anything about it and my psychiatrist said that those who think they have it usually dont.. Now i am sat here feeling a bit stupid and dont know what to do. I know how i am feeling and i know it cant go on like this. The other day i felt so down and cried a lot and didn´t feel like doing anything at all. the next day i felt super great and cleaned the whole house, didn´t sit down the whole day. The day after that i was down again.. It is SO hard because i never know what will happen. When i feel down i doubt my marriage and are thinking of running away. 2 minutes later i feel great and love my husband more than ever.. Its not fair on him either and i cant stand it anymore.. Maybe its not bipolar, i dont know, but i do know i cant go on like this. What do you suggest i do? Many kind regards.
A. A diagnosis of bipolar disorder would seem fitting but over the Internet it is not possible for me to know that for certain. You may never come to know your true “diagnosis” but what seems clear is that you are suffering. Your everyday life and even your marriage are being affected by the roller coaster of emotions and energy that you are experiencing.
Have you been evaluated by a physician to rule out any medical problems? If you have not, that might be a good idea. Are you taking any medications, physical or psychiatric? If so, those medications might account for the shifts in mood or energy levels.
If you have ruled out medical problems or medication as possible reasons for the shifts in mood and energy levels, then I would suggest that you try to find a therapist, and preferably one who works in tandem with a psychiatrist. The point here is that you may benefit from counseling and possibly medication. I would advise against taking medication without undergoing counseling. Medication without counseling probably would not be very effective. The more comprehensive the treatment approach the better you will be.
In many clinical settings, a client meets with a therapist first and after an initial evaluation, decides whether a referral to a psychiatrist is necessary. Sometimes working with the counselor is enough to stabilize an individual’s symptoms and sometimes medication is needed. What works will depend on the needs of the client and each individual’s case is unique and treatment will be different. For you, it’s important that you find a clinician who is willing to listen to your concerns, take you seriously, work with you to find the reasons for your rapid mood and energy shifts and has practical solutions to those problems.
I hope this helps. Thanks for your question.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Oct 2008
Randle, K. (2008). Bipolar? What Do I Do?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/10/27/bipolar-what-do-i-do/